WCO Europe Regional Forum on Trade Facilitation at the Border the Customs Perspective

28 May 2018

In cooperation with Kazakhstan Customs and with the support of CCF Korea, the WCO organized the Forum on Trade Facilitation at the Border, which was held in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 14 to 16 May 2018.  The opening and the following first session was organized in cooperation with Tax Administration of Kazakhstan headed by the OECD which addressed the aspects of Customs-Tax cooperation. High-level speakers, such as Mr. Yerbolat Dossayev, Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Mr. Bakhyt Sultanov, Minister of Finance of Kazakhstan, Mr. Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, Mr. Ernani Checcucci, WCO Capacity Building Director, Mr. Wang Jun, Commissioner of the State Administration of Taxation of China, and Mr. Ardak Tengebayev, Chairman of the State Revenue Committee of Kazakhstan, spoke at this event.

The Forum was a platform for Members from the WCO Europe Region to share information about their achievements regarding implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).  It focused on the TFA Article 10.4, which requires Members, on a “best endeavour” basis, to establish a Single Window solution in relation to the cross-border environment.  There was discussion on the Single Window as a trade facilitation tool: on the one hand, it could potentially provide a dramatic improvement in expediting the flow of goods and passengers across borders and contribute to the national economy; on the other hand, it could potentially secure the international supply chain by enhancing the transparency of information and processes in the international flow of information.  

The Forum was attended by more than sixty delegates, thirty-five Members, and a large number of international, regional and donor organizations, such as the World Bank, UNCTAD, OECD and EU (DG TAXUD), which presented their perspectives and activities in relation to TFA implementation in the WCO Europe Region.  The Forum was also attended by private sector stakeholders who shared their experiences in E-Commerce and oi interacting with regulatory inspection agencies at the border.  The WCO outlined the support activities for implementation of TFA provisions, such as the Mercator Programme, and relevant instruments and tools.  It also described some core aspects of a sound Single Window environment, and the experience and best practice of countries that had achieved tangible results in the context of Single Window solutions, thereby enhancing a collaborative environment at national level.  Members also provided suggestions as to the areas where WCO activities to support Single Window implementation could have greater impact. 

The WCO Forum on Trade Facilitation at the Border provided valuable input and insights into how to progress with trade facilitation initiatives and ensure that they have a tangible impact on the national cross-border business environment.  In doing so, the Forum drew on the lessons learned from the challenges and experiences of Members in a similar situation.  For further information, please contact facilitation@wcoomd.org.